Office of the
Stellenbosch University Ombud
Adv Rina Meyer
082 807 2994
34 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
For appointments: Grace Bruintjies:
firstname.lastname@example.org/ tel no. 021 883 9128 (this number is
currently not in existence for making appointments due
to Covid 19-restrictions)
Stellenbosch University has decided to appoint an ombudsman who acts totally independently. In doing so, the University has created a channel through which appropriate attention can be given to all problems and complaints from students, parents of students or personnel that the existing University structures are unable to deal with satisfactorily according to the normal channels, or that the existing structures are, for whatever reason, inadequate, as apparent from sufficient motivation presented by the complainant or complainants.
'OMBUD' – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The term 'ombudsman', 'ombudsperson' or 'ombud' (from 'om budz man' – Swedish for 'citizens' defender') refers to a person who assists individuals or groups to resolve conflicts or concerns. The Office of the Ombud at Stellenbosch University (SU) is an independent, neutral and confidential space for people to discuss their issues and concerns relating to the University. The University Ombud is an independent person appointed to facilitate the informal resolution of concerns regarding the University. Also, the Ombud typically investigates complaints and attempts to resolve them, usually through discussion, mediation and recommendations.
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WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE OMBUD WITHIN
The Ombud does not replace existing University structures; on the contrary, the Ombud's role complements and supplements these structures. Therefore, complainants must exhaust the normal SU procedures before involving the Ombud. Only if their problem remains unsolved after a reasonable period has expired, complainants may turn to the Ombud. If the available channels have not been explored thoroughly, the Ombud will refer complainants back to those channels.
Location of the Office of the SU Ombud, Ryneveld Street
WHAT ARE THE CORE PRINCIPLES OF THE SU OMBUD'S ROLE?
Independence and neutrality
Operates independently of University structures
Objectivity and impartiality
Hears the stories and views of all parties
Does not require formal structures
Promptness and efficiency
Facilitates problems being solved faster
Will not reveal anyone's identity without their permission
Equality and fairness
Focuses on the main question: Has fairness been observed?
Respects the dignity of all parties
WHO MAY LODGE A COMPLAINT OR QUERY WITH
THE SU OMBUD?
All SU employees, students, parents of students, alumni, visitors and service providers may approach the Ombud in these instances.
Please note: The discretion as to dealing with a complaint or problem, or not, as well as to the manner in which it is dealt with, lies exclusively with the Office of the Ombud; subject, however, to the guidelines on the right and below.
- They feel that they have been treated unfairly.
- They are unsure which policies, procedures, et cetera would apply to their problem.
- They are unsure how to solve a complicated issue.
- They need an impartial listener who will observe confidentiality.
- They need a neutral mediator to resolve a problem.
- They have a complaint or wish to discuss a sensitive concern.
- They have exhausted all the prescribed internal processes, but still feel dissatisfied with how the matter was handled.
HOW CAN THE OFFICE OF THE SU OMBUD HELP?
- Hears concerns and helps to clarify them.
- Provides a safe and confidential forum for voicing problems.
- Analyses the problem and identifies options.
- Sets out which channels are available.
- Provides neutral advice while protecting confidentiality.
- Expedites matters that have been unduly delayed.
- Redirects complainants to other offices better suited to mediate the issue concerned.
- Helps to identify underlying issues.
- Explores different options through both formal and informal channels.
- Assists parties in resolving disputes.
- Makes recommendations for change.
Entrance to the Office of the SU Ombud, with Ms Bruintjies, Administrative Office
WHAT RISK IS INVOLVED IN CONSULTING THE SU OMBUD?
None. The University guarantees that no-one will suffer reprisal, discrimination or victimisation for seeking assistance from the Ombud. In terms of the South African Constitution, everyone is entitled to privacy, access to information, administrative action that is just, et cetera. The University and the Office of the Ombud respect these rights.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN OMBUD’S OFFICE?
Having an Ombud’s Office benefits a university in many ways, some of which are contained in the following document found on the website of the International Ombudsman Association.
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STEPS TO LODGE A COMPLAINT OR QUERY WITH THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUD
To submit a complaint or concern for the Ombud's consideration, please complete and submit the Ombud Intake Form. Intake forms are also available from Ms Grace Bruintjies – either as an electronic document to email@example.com or a hard copy.
To make an appointment with the Ombud, please e-mail Ms Bruintjies.
In matters of urgency, you may e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 082 807 2994.